Sharks end six-match losing run and earn crucial point in relegation fight
Shaw Cross Sharks ended their six-match losing run in National Conference Division Two with what could prove to be a crucial point as they drew 20-20 against Barrow Island.
The Sharks were the superior side for much of last Saturday’s game against their play-off chasing opponents, but had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Barrow were on top early on and, after forcing a repeat set, Dan White went over on the right.
The visitors failed to claim the restart though, allowing Shaw Cross to respond quickly as captain Dec Naughton squeezed over from close range, with Callum Barker converting for a 6-4 lead.
The Sharks momentum continued following the try but the next score came against the run of play as Jake Stockdale broke inside the Barrow half and ran clear for the try and Adam Jackson added the conversion.
Barker was held up over the line as the Sharks continued to push, while Barrow’s Cameron Currie had a score disallowed for a forward pass.
A great kick from Andrew Tillotson forced Barrow Island to drop out and Shaw Cross took advantage.
Matthew West kept the ball alive with an improvised kick and Owen Lumb went through to score, with Barker’s conversion edging them back in front and they held a slender 12-10 lead at half-time.
The Sharks have found the second 40 minutes tough going in recent weeks but they made a brilliant start to the second half.
They forced Barrow to knock on and were then awarded a penalty and from the resulting attack, Lumb slipped the ball to West to charge over.
Barker’s conversion made it 18-10 but Jackson narrowed the gap with a penalty after Shaw Cross were caught offside.
Island levelled the scores after an hour with Stockdale scoring his second try of the match when he was on the end of a quick move to the left edge.
Jackson’s goal made it 18-18 and he then edged the visitors in front with a penalty six minutes later for an alleged high tackle.
With nine minutes left, the Sharks were awarded a penalty close to the line and Barker kicked the goal to level.
The Sharks had to defend a set on their line before Tillotson failed with a drop goal attempt, and in the final minute Island’s Carl McBain was red carded for dissent.
With only seconds left there wasn’t time to take advantage though, and the sides had to settle for a point each.
Shaw Cross are at home again on Saturday when they welcome Bradford Dudley Hill to Leeds Road.
Dudley Hill lie fifth in the table and go into the game on the back of a 32-16 defeat at Hull Dockers last week.